The Ransom of Red Chief

by O. Henry

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O.Henry is known for writing stories with unexpected twists and turns. use details from the ransom of red chief to explain how the story illustrates this description.

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In terms of plot twists and turns, "The Ransom of Red Chief" begins with an unexpected narrator: a man who confesses to being the kidnapper of a child. The person speaking would generally not be thought of as a character for whom sympathy could be built, but in a humorous way, that is exactly what happens. Another way to look at it could be that criminals don't often get the punishment people think that they deserve, and yet the perpetrators in this crime do, in a wholly unexpected way.

The ten-year-old boy who is kidnapped from one of the town of Summit's most prominent citizens is described as having "bas-relief freckles, and hair the colour of the cover of the magazine you buy at the news-stand," but quickly demonstrates pugnacious behavior that belies his all-American appearance.

The most prominent plot twist is that the father of the boy is not eager for his return; he is such a handful that the kidnappers have to pay the boy's father to take him off their hands.

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Most aspects of the story are not what you would expect upon first reading of the text. Consider:

The story is set in and around the town of Summit - a term that would usually be applied to the peak of a mountain, but this town is flat.

Johnny, the ten-year-old boy who is the kidnapping victim, becomes the person in charge, terrorizing his kidnappers with his constant talk and activity and physical assaults against them.

Johnny's father not only refuses to pay the ransom for his son's release but succeeds in collecting a payment from Sam and Bill before he agrees to allow Johnny to return home.

Unlike most kidnapping victims who are happy to be released from captivity, Johnny doesn't want to leave the cave and his new playmates and chases after them instead of eagerly returning home.


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